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On the Books: Hayao Miyazaki creating new manga

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Hayao Miyazaki
Jun Sato/WireImage

When Hayao Miyazaki announced his retirement from film last year, his global audience sighed. The Japanese director behind iconic animated films including My Neighbor Totoro and Spirited Away had “retired” before, but he pledged this time was no joke.

He’s kept his word. Sort of. A new L.A. Times interview suggests that our post-Miyazaki world is actually a post-Miyazaki film world—and that fresh work from the creative genius could loom on the horizon. Discussing how he now spends his days, Miyazaki mentioned that he’s returned to an old hobby of his: producing manga.

Here’s what he had to say about the project, which sounds really, really rad:

It’s something I wanted to do when I was a student. It’s about samurai in the 16th century, wearing full armor, battling it out with each other. I was very dissatisfied with the way that era was depicted in fiction and film, so I wanted to draw something that would reflect the way I thought that era should look. … The great director Akira Kurosawa filmed his films in large, open spaces like golf courses, and there weren’t those large, open spaces in Japan.

A period piece aiming for historical accuracy from one of film’s masters of surrealism? We’re ready. [L.A. Times]

Max, the quirky protagonist of Where the Wild Things Are, probably didn’t have to worry about fraught legal battles. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for the executors of Wild Things author Maurice Sendak’s will. Philadelphia’s Rosenbach Museum and Library has sued Sendak’s estate, claiming it hasn’t honored Sendak’s wishes for his multimillion-dollar rare-book collection to go to the Rosenbach after his death. His will occupied a legal gray area, requesting that the Rosenbach and his estate sort out the details; two and a half years after his death, the two parties still haven’t found common ground.

The impetus for the lawsuit surrounds a Christie’s auction, “The World of Maurice Sendak: Artist, Author, Connoisseur,” slated by the Sendaks for Jan. 21. Though the Rosenbach’s suit admits that the auction doesn’t specifically list any of the items it claims, it wants an injunction until the groups resolve the ordeal. Sendak worked with the institution for decades as a board member, honorary president, and donor, and the Rosenbach returned his service with more than 70 exhibitions of his work since 1969. [Philadelphia Inquirer]

Classic literature continues its expansion to the digital realm. The latest novel to receive a juiced e-reader treatment is Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. Back in July, publisher HarperCollins put out a basic digital edition—but a just-announced enhanced version promises to please both Lee fanatics and newcomers to the story. The edition—which, at $8.99, costs the same as the basic one—will feature a radio interview with Lee, footage from the 1962 film adaptation, Sissy Spacek performances of passages, and clips of Oprah Winfrey, Tom Brokaw, and Anna Quindlen taken from the 2010 documentary, Harper Lee: Hey, Boo. E-reader holdouts, it might be time to reevaluate your stance. [Mediabistro]

Michael Chabon, the author of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, is cool—and he just got cooler. In January, British producer Mark Ronson will release his first album in four years, Uptown Special. It’ll feature vocals from musicians like Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker, but the words they’re singing will be held to a higher standard. After all, Chabon wrote many of them.

Ronson, who counts himself as a massive Chabon fan, says he thought to contact the author for lyrics “that were about more than heartache or the dance floor and actually told stories.” So Ronson reached out to Chabon, who called the overture a “bolt from the blue” and something he “had never, ever remotely imagined having the opportunity to do at all.” He accepted, but here’s the part where literary types might cringe: Ronson did edit down the lyrics a bit because the first drafts “were wild and amazing, but totally out there.” [The Guardian]